Thursday, November 10, 2011

Freewriting versus the Inner Editor

So today is the tenth of November (or the eleventh, for those of you who are living in the future). That means that anyone doing NaNoWriMo should be reaching 16,667 words. If you haven’t, there are still twenty days to catch up. It’s possible! Don’t give up! If all else fails, take your main character to the supermarket. And then he bought a tube of toothpaste. And three bananas. And a jar of hot chilli sauce. Eventually you’ll get back on track and write some words that are worth keeping, but in the meantime you have a hundred-and-twenty item grocery list to add to your word count.

There’s something freeing about just putting down on the page whatever comes to mind, and not worrying whether it makes sense or is useful to the plot. It can make sense later, during the editing process, and NaNoWriMo is all about the word count, so why worry now?

I’m currently in the every-little-word-must-mean-something-stupendous stage or state of mind, which can be very annoying. I keep thinking I see the finish line ahead, but then I start thinking about some other part that could be improved or changed, and how the novel as a whole would be so much better if I just rewrote some things here and there, and the finish line recedes a little bit. And then my rewrite starts off a whole cascade of other small changes that will make everything sparkle properly, once I’ve finished this round, and then halfway through I get distracted by another bit that really needs attention, and then that leads on to another bit, and-

Must rein in perfectionism. Maybe I should do a pseudo-NaNo, where I just have to write and not concurrently edit. Good luck everyone who’s still bashing away at NaNo!

1 comment:

  1. Who was it who recommended writing with your glasses off so you can't read(and get distracted by) what you've written? A very freeing technique, apparently - and for people who don't have glasses to take off, you can change the font colour to grey and make it a very very small point...


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